Nostalgia is generally a good thing, however occasionally nostalgia hearkens back to darker times, rather than positive experiences.
Meat and Potatoes
Before I get into the lion’s share of this review, I do want to talk about some very interesting things about these lights. In short, they are one mode, AAA powered, clicky lights that use lensing rather than a reflector to focus the beam. Sporting either 54 or 105 lumens (for the 1 or 2 cell variant, respectively), these aren’t supremely powerful lights, but they promise to do the job with minimal fuss. Their slightly bulky build suggests ruggedness, without “tacticool” trappings. The use of a lens in place of a reflector was particularly impressive. Even in such a small little torch, the beam was supremely usable. Not throwy, but not a completely defocused wall of light. It was, in short, essentially my perfect setup for a pocketsize EDC. My initial impression of these lights was supremely positive. I liked them in concept. Too bad practice was something else.
I always make sure to test my lights thoroughly before writing about them. I carry them for weeks or sometimes longer before they find their way into this blog. This is one of the reasons I write reviews so much later than most other reviewers. I’m not simply doling out initial impressions, but rather carefully considered opinions based on longer term usage. Usually, this is a joy. As a general rule, I love flashlights, and as such, I genuinely want to find something to like about every torch that crosses my path. I’ve been given a few lights that can’t possibly keep pace with my expectations before, though generally they still function adequately for use. Most of my critiques are based on nitpicky items like the specific shape of machine work, or a fiddly UI that claims tactical application, however occasionally I come across something more along these lines. Something that has a little more substance to complain about. These particular lights I carried even longer than I usually do, just to make certain my impressions were accurate.
Both the Revtronic PL1 and the PL2 have demonstrated a complete inability to function as intended. After the initial period of use these lights promised so much to me. Sturdily constructed single mode AAA lights with a tailswitch and lensing? That’s right up my alley. I thought they’d be perfect for me. Eventually though, the nostalgia bringing me back to the early days of my flashaholism started to show through. I’m not talking maglites here. I’m talking about the flickering mess that was the old plastic 2-D cell Everready flashlight with the slider switch on the side. Those lights of my childhood were only useful as torches when they were brand new. Like those, it didn’t take long though for the flicker to start on the Revtronic PL lights. At first I thought it was simply my eyes playing tricks on me, but as it became more pronounced, I began to suspect it was simply the flashlight regulation attempting to cope with dying alkaline cells. Eventually I began to notice it even on fresh AAA’s (I put these torches through at least 4 sets as of this writing). They simply didn’t work. The flicker continued to get worse, until the lights became utterly unreliable. I could click them on, and then I’d have to fiddle with them, banging them against my palm, or adjusting the angle I held them until finally I could coax a few meager seconds of light out of them before they fizzled back out. This is failure at the most basic level. Whatever other things these lights may have going for them, they are literally useless as torches, after only a few short months of use. It pains me to give such harsh criticism, but there is nothing else to be said. I can’t whitewash the truth.
I wanted to like these lights. I really did. However, failure to perform even the most basic of functions, especially with such a minimalistic interface, means they simply cannot be recommended.